Jonesboro, Arkansas
City of Jonesboro
Clockwise from top: Craighead County Courthouse, a house in the West Washington Avenue Historic District, downtown Jonesboro, and the Dean B. Ellis Library at Arkansas State University
Clockwise from top: Craighead County Courthouse, a house in the West Washington Avenue Historic District, downtown Jonesboro, and the Dean B. Ellis Library at Arkansas State University
Official seal of Jonesboro, Arkansas
"People, Pride, Progress"
Location of Jonesboro in Craighead County, Arkansas.
Location of Jonesboro in Craighead County, Arkansas.
Jonesboro is located in Arkansas
Location in the United States
Jonesboro is located in the United States
Jonesboro (the United States)
Coordinates: 35°49′41″N 90°41′39″W / 35.82806°N 90.69417°W / 35.82806; -90.69417
Country United States
State Arkansas
IncorporatedFebruary 19, 1859
 • MayorHarold Copenhaver
 • City80.73 sq mi (209.09 km2)
 • Land80.18 sq mi (207.66 km2)
 • Water0.55 sq mi (1.43 km2)
259 ft (79 m)
 • City81,969
 • Density1,022.40/sq mi (393.41/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC−06:00 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code870
FIPS code05-35710
GNIS feature ID0077389

Jonesboro is a city located on Crowley's Ridge in the northeastern corner of the U.S. State of Arkansas. Jonesboro is one of two county seats of Craighead County. In 2023,[2] the city had a population of 81,969 and was the fifth-largest city in Arkansas at the time. In 2023, the Jonesboro metropolitan area had a population of 135,287[3] and a population of 179,932[4] in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area.[5]

Jonesboro is the home of Arkansas State University and is the cultural and economic center of Northeast Arkansas.[citation needed]


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The Jonesboro area was first inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, historic tribes included the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw.[6] The name of the state of Arkansas comes from the Quapaw language.[6] French and Spanish traders and trappers had relations with these groups.[citation needed]

After the United States acquired this territory in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, American settlers eventually made their way to the area where Jonesboro is located. They began exploring, hunting, trapping, and trading with the local Indian tribes. A permanent settlement of Jonesboro was set up shortly after 1859. When Craighead County was established.[citation needed]

In 1859, land was taken from nearby Greene, Mississippi, and Poinsett counties and was used to form Craighead County. Jonesboro was designated as the original county seat. As the population increased in the west of the county, Lake City was named as the second seat.[7] Jonesboro had 150 residents in 1859. It was named after State Senator William A. Jones[8] in recognition of his support for the formation of Craighead County. Originally spelled Jonesborough, the city name was later shortened to its present-day spelling.[citation needed]

In 1881, a young woman was brutally murdered in an apparent robbery. Her father had left their farm for a short while and returned to find her in a pool of her own blood. Four black men were arrested in conjunction with the crime, and after their trial, The Jonesboro Lynching of 1881 took place at midnight on March 12. The Decatur Daily Republican reported that the four men, called Green Harris (sometimes referred to as Hawes), Giles Peck, John Woods (sometimes referred to as Jud Woods), and Burt Hoskins (sometimes referred to as Haskins)—had been arrested and tried before magistrates Jackson and Akers at New Haven Church, eight miles north of Jonesboro. The hearing, which found that the men were guilty, was attended by several hundred people. According to this and several other reports, the accused made a complete confession. The magistrates bound them over to the grand jury, and they were ordered taken to the jail in Jonesboro. The hour being late, however, it was decided to hold them overnight in the church under a strong guard. The large crowd gradually dispersed, "muttering threats of vengeance." Around midnight, between 200 and 300 masked men surrounded the church, overpowered the guards, and broke in the doors and windows. They seized the accused, dragged them to a tree about 200 yards away, and hanged them. Once again, the crowd dispersed, "leaving the bodies of their victims dangling in the air and presenting a horrible spectacle in the moonlight." According to the Republican, "The crime and punishment form one of the blackest pages in the annals of the state."[9]

The Bell House is one of twelve Jonesboro sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During the late 19th century, the city tried to develop its court system and downtown infrastructure. Shortly after the city was named county seat, the highest point in Jonesboro was identified and a courthouse was planned for construction. This was delayed for several years, for the locals did not want to ruin their deer hunting. The first courthouse was finally completed but was destroyed by a fire in 1869. A store across from this site was rented and used as a courthouse. It was destroyed in an 1876 fire. Another building was constructed on the same site, but it fell to a fire in 1878, a major one that destroyed most of downtown Jonesboro. Soon afterward, another courthouse was constructed; it was replaced by the present courthouse in 1934.[citation needed]

The St. Louis Southwestern Railway, known as the Cotton Belt Railroad was constructed through Jonesboro, with its tracks passing just north of the center of the city. During the first train's journey, it became stuck and supplies had to be carried into town.[6] It connected St. Louis to points in Arkansas and Texas. Other major railways began to construct tracks to and from Jonesboro, including the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway and Missouri Pacific Railroad. Some of the rail companies still own and use the tracks that run through Jonesboro.[citation needed]

The city set up the Jonesboro School District in 1899.[10] In 1900, St. Bernard's Regional Medical Center was established by the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters.[11] The Grand Leader Department Store, the first department store in the city, was opened in 1900. Woodland College and two schools within the Jonesboro School District were opened in 1904. Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University) was established in 1909,[12] a year in which the first horseless carriages were driven in the city. There is a recording on a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map dating back to March 1897 of a Presbyterian Church existing at the corner of Church St. and Monroe, and a Christian church located at the corner of Union and Huntington Ave. Other early churches of the city were started in the 1910s. First Baptist Church was founded in 1911, and First Methodist Church in 1916.[citation needed]

Wade Thomas was lynched on December 26, 1920, in downtown Jonesboro. A large white mob seized Thomas after he allegedly shot local Patrolman Elmer Ragland during a Christmas Day raid on a local dice game. He was paraded through the town and then hanged and his body riddled with bullets.[13] [14]

On September 10, 1931, Governor Harvey Parnell authorized the Arkansas National Guard to be deployed in Jonesboro to quell the Church War, a clash between the followers of Joe Jeffers and Dow H. Heard, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro. Jeffers' supporters also attacked the mayor and police chief, resulting in front-page coverage of the incident in The New York Times.[citation needed]

On May 15, 1968 an F4 tornado struck Jonesboro, destroying 164 homes.[15] At least 34 people died and more than 350 people were injured as a result of the tornado which struck the town without warning at 10:00pm that night.

On May 27, 1973, shortly after midnight, an F4 tornado struck Jonesboro, killing 3 and injuring 289.[16] Damage was estimated at 60 million in 1973 dollars.[17]

The 1998 Westside Middle School shooting occurred on March 24. Two young boys (aged 11 and 13 years) fired upon students at Westside Middle School while hidden in woodlands near the school. They killed four students and one teacher, and injured 10 persons.[18]

In the 2007–2008 school year the Jonesboro Public School District elementary schools were reclassified as magnet schools.[19]

2020 tornado

A "large, destructive"[20] EF3 tornado struck Jonesboro on March 28, 2020, causing severe damage to The Mall at Turtle Creek and at least twenty minor injuries, and two severe injuries.[20]


Jonesboro is located at 35°49′41″N 90°41′39″W / 35.82806°N 90.69417°W / 35.82806; -90.69417 (35.828067, -90.694048)[21] atop Crowley's Ridge in northeastern Arkansas.[citation needed]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 80.5 square miles (208.4 km2), of which 79.9 square miles (206.9 km2) is land and 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2), or 0.72%, is water.[2]


Jonesboro has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).[citation needed]

Climate data for Jonesboro 2 NE, AR (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
Mean maximum °F (°C) 66.7
Average high °F (°C) 45.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 36.1
Average low °F (°C) 26.7
Mean minimum °F (°C) 10.9
Record low °F (°C) −18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.90
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.1 8.6 10.2 9.4 10.1 7.3 7.8 7.2 6.6 8.3 9.2 9.6 103.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.7 0.8 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 2.2
Source: NOAA[22][23]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[24]

It is the principal city of the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area.[citation needed]

2020 census

Jonesboro racial composition[25]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 54,905 70.94%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 16,172 20.90%
Native American 205 0.26%
Asian 1,403 1.81%
Pacific Islander 7 0.01%
Other/Mixed 4,700 6.07%
Hispanic or Latino 5,716 7.27%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 78,576 people, 29,688 households, and 19,637 families residing in the city.[citation needed]


As of the census of 2013, there were 71,551 people, 26,111 households, and 16,637 families residing in the city. The population density was 697.1 inhabitants per square mile (269.2/km2). There were 28,321 housing units at an average density of 304.7 per square mile (117.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.7% White, 18.4% Black, 0.4% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. 5.2% of the population were Hispanic.[26]

There were 26,111 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. There are 878 unmarried partner households: 776 heterosexual, 50 same-sex male, and 52 same-sex female households. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.93.[26]

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.9% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.[26]

The median income for a household in the city was $32,196, and the median income for a family was $42,082. Males had a median income of $21,633 versus $31,633 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,884. About 12.9% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 12.3% of those age 65 or over.[26]


The Mall at Turtle Creek entrance

The Mall at Turtle Creek, opened in 2006, was the largest mall in northeast Arkansas and was the only enclosed mall constructed in the country that year.[27] The mall closed in 2020 due to tornado damage; currently, the only stores in operation at Turtle Creek are Dillard's, JCPenney, and Target.[28] Before The Mall at Turtle Creek opened, Indian Mall, named for the former mascot of Arkansas State University,[29] was the primary shopping destination in northeast Arkansas. The Indian Mall was demolished in 2012.[30]

In 2012, Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Jonesboro ninth of the "10 Best Cities for Cheapskates".[31]

Arts and culture

Points of interest

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Craighead Forest Park is a city-owned park located on Crowley's Ridge featuring a 60-acre fishing lake, camping facilities, hiking/biking trails, nature areas, picnic sites and recreational fields.[32]

Crowley's Ridge Parkway runs through Jonesboro. It was designated one of Arkansas' Scenic Byways in 1997, and it was designated Arkansas' first National Scenic Byway in 1998.[33]

In 2004 the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission opened the 160-acre Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center in south Jonesboro, adjacent to Craighead Forest Park. The center includes exhibits on the origins and history of the Ridge, wildlife, educational models and displays, land and water features, hiking trails, an observation tower and an auditorium.[34]

Located on the ASU campus, the Arkansas State University Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums and features 21,000 square feet of historic, archaeological, and natural history exhibits. The museum focuses on the history and cultural heritage of Northeast Arkansas and the Mississippi River Delta region.[35]


Higher education

Arkansas State University is located in Jonesboro. New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine maintains a second location on Arkansas State University's campus in Wilson Hall.[36]

The Northeast Arkansas Career & Tech Center is also located in Jonesboro.[37]

Elementary and secondary education

The Dean B. Ellis Library at Arkansas State University's main campus

There are six public school districts operating within the city limits of Jonesboro:[38]

Prior to School integration in the United States, a separate set of schools was maintained for White and Black children. Booker T. Washington High School provided education for Black children from surrounding areas under contract at until the schools were finally integrated.[39] Jonesboro was a leader in educating African-American Children.[who?][citation needed]


Call Sign Channel Network(s)
8.2 NBC
8.3 CW+
19.2 Create
19.3 PBS Kids
19.4 World
39.2/42.2 CBS
39.3/42.3 MeTV/MyNetworkTV
KVTJ 48.1 Religious
FM Radio
Call Sign Frequency Format Branding
KASU 91.9 Public Radio 91.9 KASU
K224DW (KDXY-HD3) 92.7 Soft AC EZ 92.7 FM
K237FI (KNEA) 95.3 Sports 95.3 The Ticket
K253BQ (KJBX-HD2) 98.5 Classic Country 98.5 The Outlaw
KEGI 100.5 Classic Rock 100.5 The Eagle Rocks
K267AS (KBTM) 101.3 News/Talk News Talk 101.3 KBTM
KIYS 101.7 Top 40 (CHR) 101.7 KISS-FM
KLEK-LP 102.5 Community 102.5 KLEK
KFLO-LP 102.9 Adult Hits KFLO 102.9FM
KDXY 104.9 Country 104.9 The Fox
KJBX 106.3 Hot AC Mix 106.3
K298AV (KDXY-HD2) 107.5 Rhythmic Top 40 (CHR) 107.5 The Party Station
KFIN 107.9 Country The BIG 107.9 KFIN
AM Radio
Call Sign Frequency Format Branding
KNEA 970 Sports 95.3 The Ticket
KBTM 1230 News/Talk News Talk 101.3 KBTM



Air service

The region is served by the Jonesboro Municipal Airport.

Public transport

The city is served by the Jonesboro Economic Transit System (JETS). As of 2011, JETS operates three fixed routes, as well as para-transit service for disabled persons.[citation needed] Intercity bus service to the city is provided by Greyhound Lines.[40]

List of highways

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "QuickFacts Jonesboro city, Arkansas". US CENSUS. U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020.
  3. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Jonesboro, AR Metro Area, Arkansas". Census Reporter. February 4, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Jonesboro - Paragould (Combined Statistical Area, Combined Metropolitan Areas (Tibet), USA) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map and Location". Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 17, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c "History of Jonesboro". Archived from the original on December 28, 2007.
  7. ^ "Craighead County Arkansas Genealogy Trails". March 3, 2006. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  8. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 170.
  9. ^ ""Jonesboro Lynching of 1881". Encyclopedia of Arkansas
  10. ^ "Jonesboro Public School System". Archived from the original on August 28, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2007.
  11. ^ "St. Bernard's Medical Center: History & Facts". Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2007.
  12. ^ "About Arkansas State University". Archived from the original on January 12, 2008.
  13. ^ Lancaster 2019.
  14. ^ New-York Tribune, December 27, 1920, p. 3.
  15. ^ Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant tornadoes, 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, Vermont: Environmental Films. p. 1099. ISBN 1-879362-03-1.
  16. ^ "Storm Prediction Center WCM Page: Severe Weather Database Files (1950-2014)". Storm Prediction Center. Storm Prediction Center. March 17, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  17. ^ "Remembering the 1973 Jonesboro, Arkansas, Tornado". May 26, 2013.
  18. ^ Goodwyn, Wade (March 23, 2018). "20 Years Later, Jonesboro Shooting Survivors Conflicted Over Parkland". NPR. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "KAIT - Jonesboro, AR: Teachers get Ready for Magnet Schools". Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2008.
  20. ^ a b "Large, destructive tornado strikes Jonesboro, Ark., leaving behind 'severe' damage". The Washington Post.
  21. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  22. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  23. ^ "Station: Jonesboro 2 NE, AR". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  24. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  26. ^ a b c d "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  27. ^ "The Mall at Turtle Creek to hold grand opening March 28-April 8 - Memphis Business Journal". Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  28. ^ "Barnes & Noble to not reopen, will seek alternative locations if economic conditions improve". KAIT8. September 4, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  29. ^ Waldon, George (November 3, 2003). "Developers vie for new mall in Jonesboro". Arkansas Business. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  30. ^ "The walls of Indian Mall will soon come down". KAIT8. January 18, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  31. ^ "10 Best Cities for Cheapskates". Kiplinger. August 8, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  32. ^ "Craighead Forest Park".
  33. ^ "Crowley's Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway | Jonesboro, AR |". Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  34. ^ "Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center".
  35. ^ University, Arkansas State. "A-State". Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  36. ^ "Jonesboro, Arkansas". New York Institute of Technology. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  37. ^ "Home".
  38. ^ "SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP (2010 CENSUS): Craighead County, AR" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  39. ^ "Encyclopedia of Arkansas". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  40. ^ "Bus Routes". Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  41. ^ "Frederick C. Turner, Jr".
  42. ^ "Michelle Gray's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 12, 2015.

Further reading